Normally, this time of year, I am busy lining up guest posts for my annual Summer Series. Which I have loved hosting on this site the past several years.
But I won't be doing so any more.
Why not? Because I realized I've been asking my fellow writers to do something I myself will not do - work for free.
When I was preparing to launch my new photography business, I reached out to a dear friend who is a graphic designer. Not to ask her for a favor, but to inquire about her rates. She asked what I had budgeted for logo development and what I was looking for, and we went from there.
It was a professional business transaction. She delivered what I had asked for, sent me an invoice, and I paid her.
Thing is, I can't afford to pay people to write for this blog. It doesn't generate enough income to sustain paying contributors. And I can't offer writers the promise of "exposure," because my stats don't support that. Nor would I want to approach anyone that way.
Each writer has to make the choice that works best. It's personal. Much has been written about the topic. I tried it. I wrote for some of the biggest sites on the Internet for, "exposure."
It didn't pan out. The return on the investment (of my time and talent) was not there. And so I quit. Today I only write for sites that pay me. In actual money. Because that is what my family needs. "Exposure" offers even less for my husband and child than it does me.
But it wasn't until I reached out to my friend who is the designer that it suddenly dawned on me - I can't in good conscious continue with my Summer Series. I can't ask other writers to share their words on this space if I can't pay them. It would be completely hypocritical.
It makes me sad. Because I am fortunate to know a lot of amazing writers. If you've followed my Summer Series in the past, you know this. And it has been popular. Last year, I had so many writers interested in participating I had to turn people away (which made me feel awful).
The original idea behind The Summer Series was that it would give me a break from writing during the one season when I don't have much time to do so. And offer fresh voices to my blog's readers, hopefully introducing them to writers they would follow over to their sites and continue to read.
It would also, of course, potentially introduce new readers to my blog who might stick around once I jumped back into posting regularly. And it successfully met those goals. Many times, the participants in my series would graciously invite me to guest post on their blogs as well, and I happily did so.
I was writing for free then. Regularly. Now that I am not, my perspective has changed. The way I interact with other writers needs to follow.
To those who have contributed to my series in the past, I am so grateful and honored you chose to share your voice in my little corner of the Internet. Thank you!
This space has been pretty quiet of late, and with the end of The Summer Series, that will likely continue. I write here when I can. You can find me more regularly over at Mom.me. And hopefully, soon, on some other sites.
With the launch of my photography business, you'll get to see more of my images in this space as well. But you won't see guest posts here until and unless I reach the point where I can offer to pay other writers for their time and talent. As I believe it should be...